“making yourself memorable”

People do business with people they like.  That simple truism is too often forgotten by founders of young companies as they try to sell investors, talent and customers to sign up for their vision.  It is too often forgotten by people on the job hunt. In an effort to sell people on the latest feature, app, vision or a skill set, we often forget to sell people on ourselves – not our skills, but who we are as a person.  In our fast paced and forgetful world, it is easy to meet someone, hear their pitch and promptly forget about them.  This is not the fault of the person that forgot.  Instead, you didn’t do a good enough job making yourself memorable.  A memorable impression is crafted, not spontaneously created.

How do you stand out? You need to craft a series of short (30 second) stories about you (as a person) that can be used depending on the audience.   This is not a science; it takes telling your story in a lot of different contexts, many times before you find the few that work.  As a non-native Athenian, people always want to know why I ended up here.  Four years ago, I picked up my life in San Francisco to move to Athens for a girl. It didn’t last.  There’s a lot behind those two lines both about who I am as a person and a humorous antidote about life not working out as you expected. Anyone I share that story with remembers it and connects.  They may forget my name and, for the most part, what I do, but they share with other people about that strange guy that moved across the country for a girl.   Or, more importantly, they can relate because they did something similar one time.

Almost no one is going to remember the awesome vision for the company you are creating or some amazing feature you just rolled out on your app in a first interaction.  But, they will remember the story you tell them that personalizes you and forms an easily digestible narrative about who you are as a person.  In startups (and life), those that are successful are constantly selling.  Many of us have a natural aversion to sales because they think of it like a used car salesmen.  I was one of those people.  I’ll never be a cold call sales machine. But, I have learned through lots of trials, that forming personalized narratives about my life help me connect with people in the business world far more quickly and effectively than simply talking about my great company.   So start talking, telling stories and connecting with people!

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